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What I Remind Myself When Mental Illness Makes Me Feel Like a Bad Sister

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I love my sisters more than anything. They are my best friends and my biggest supporters. I know I can always count on them to be there for me. But sometimes, my depression and anxiety have me believing I don’t deserve my sisters. I start to believe they deserve better. I find myself believing they deserve a sister who can be there for them whenever they need.

It had been a hard week for me. Finals were coming up, my meds had not been working the way they’re supposed to, my dog was just diagnosed with a heart murmur and it felt like everything was piling up around me, smothering me. I could feel myself starting to disconnect and withdraw. When friends invited me out, I didn’t want to go. When it was time to buckle down and do school work, I was completely overwhelmed. I started to feel like a hollow shell, just going through the motions. My sister asked me if I would attend her concert (the last one of her college career), and I couldn’t get myself to go. Later that night, she asked if I would come to her award ceremony (where she won two awards), but I was so exhausted. The idea of leaving the house to go sit in a stuffy gym for two hours while I waited for her name to be called had my heart racing. I later found out one of her friends drove six hours to come, and had brought her flowers, and I felt like the worst sister in the world. I felt like I had completely failed as a big sister. I wasn’t there to support her and celebrate in her accomplishments. I chose watching Netflix over watching her perform. I had chosen taking my dog to the dog park over being there to watch her receive her awards.

But then I remember, I chose self-care. Sometimes I can’t leave the house, and that’s OK. Sometimes being around other people is just too overwhelming, and that’s OK. Sometimes I’m not a perfect sister, and that’s OK.

I love my sisters more than anything, and they know that. They know I try my hardest to be there for them, and they know sometimes my depression and anxiety get the better of me. Sometimes my depression may make it hard for me to engage, and sometimes my anxiety may make leaving the house seem like an impossible feat. But my depression and anxiety will never change how much I love my family and friends. I will never let my mental illness take away how much I care for those dearest to me. Even though sometimes it’s hard to show just how much I care.

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Thinkstock photo via kotoffei.

Originally published: May 18, 2017
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